Bacon Peanut Butter Cookies

Bacon Peanut Butter Cookies
Bacon Peanut Butter Cookies

If you follow my facebook page at all, you know I’m up to my armpits in potential new blog posts, after the Great Kitchen Collaborative of 2012. That said, I made these cookies a couple weeks ago, and wanted to be sure they didn’t fall by the wayside! When I met my friend Pete’s awesome kiddo Evan, he was still in diapers. Now he’s a whip smart pre-teen that says things like “This is the score I composed, it only has guitar and piano so far” and “Dad’s teaching me Stairway on the guitar.” It’s crazy. When I went to visit his brand new little sister, his mom mentioned that he’d recently added bacon as one of his “interests” on facebook. I promptly promised him I’d make a return trip sometime soon, and we’d us bake some crazy bacon cookies.

I had a hefty chunk of homemade bacon left in the freezer, perfect for corrupting perfectly innocent peanut butter cookies with. Since I was baking away from home, I packed the dry ingredients and sugars into pint mason jars, and relied on eggs at Evan’s house.

My homemade bacon is sliced pretty thick, so I took advantage of this fact to make nice neat little cubes of bacony goodness for our cookies. If you’re using commercial bacon, just try to get your hands on the thickest cut available. That super thin cut stuff might make for extra crispy accompanyments to scrambled eggs, but I have a feeling it would burn in this application.

 

Be sure to fully cook and cool your bacon before adding it to the cookies.

 

After this, it’s simply a matter of assembling your favorite peanut butter cookie recipe, adding the cooked bacon at the end, and rolling them into balls!

 Everybody knows PB cookies must have those little criss cross marks from a fork, and these are no exception.

 I went with a super basic version from Simply Recipes, which noted that if you want crispety crunchety cookies, you should bake them at 350 degrees. If, like me, you prefer chewy, toothsome cookies, you simply bake them a little longer at 300 degrees. That’s exactly what we did, and they came out beautifully! Perfectly crisp at the edges, but with a satisfying chew, and just enough salty bits of bacon throughout to keep things interesting. So delicious!

 

 

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies

adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 egg

1 1/4 cup flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Method

1. Dice thick sliced bacon until you have between 2/3 C and 1 C pre-cooked bacon, depending completely on how much you want in the end product! If I had to guess how many slices of the commercial stuff this would be, it’s probably in the neighborhood of 6-8. Cook until crisp, drain on paper towels, and let cool while you assemble the rest of the cookies.

2. Beat the butter until creamy, 2 minutes. Add the sugars, beat for 2 more minutes. Mix in the peanut butter and egg. Mix together the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the sugar butter mixture. Add cooked, cooled bacon to the mix.

3. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate at least 3 hours. (we majorly cheated this with only about 30 minutes, and they came out fine!)

4. Preheat oven to 375°F. Shape dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Place about 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten in crisscross pattern with a fork. Bake until light brown, 9 to 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for a minute; transfer to rack to cool completely.

For chewier cookies, bake at 300°F for 15 minutes.

Yield: Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

 

 

 

Neighborhood Foodie is BACK!!

Neighborhood Foodie is BACK!!

As any of you who follow my activities around the internet know, I haven’t exactly been keeping up to date with the actual blog as of late. The facebook page always has fun new stuff posted, but the program I was using for the blog itself gave me nothing but headaches. I’ve moved everything over to WordPress, and as of yet, my completely NON technical minded brain hasn’t managed to screw it up! Since my last post was international (sort of – it was about an American holiday, but located internationally) it only seemed fitting that my re-debut back into the blogging world should also be outside my usual borders.

Even though Mexico is barely a half hour drive from my house, it rarely occurs to me to venture over the border. I had a great excuse to do just that this past weekend, for the Caesar Salad Festival! That’s right, the Caesar salad isn’t an Italian invention. Ok fine, it was invented BY an Italian, but it happened in Tijuana. Don’t believe me? Read all about it right here!

My friend Jeff happily agreed to spend a day playing tourist with me, and we simply parked the car on the US side, and walked over the border. We did lots of walking, shopping, and most importantly, eating. We had a fabulous lunch at the place it all started, Ceasar’s! The food was incredible – crab stuff paquillo peppers as an appetizer, the most delicious margarita I’ve ever tasted (or two…), obviously the table side Caesar salad, a trio of carne asada, cheese enchilada and chile relleno for Jeff, and Shrimp Newburg for me. Crazy delicious, every bite.

The rest of the afternoon was browsing for souveniers, seeing the sites, and taking lots of pictures. I definitely plan to go back soon, we had such a fantastically fun day! If you want to see the whole photo album, it’s on my facebook page right here!

If you want to make a traditional Caesar salad at home, and you definitely should, this version from food.com is pretty darn close – they leave the romaine whole at the actual Caesar’s, but make it whichever way you like best!

Tradtional Ceaesar Salad

from Food.com

Ingredients

Croutons:

Salad:

Instructions

  • In small sauce pan, heat butter, olive oil, and garlic from top of recipe.
  • When butter is melted, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Remove garlic, toss bread cubes with butter mixture.
  • Spread on baking sheet and bake at 350 F shaking pan once or twice, until croutons are golden brown (about 10 minutes).
  • Set aside.
  • In large wooden salad bowl, run garlic clove around the inside of the bowl.
  • Mash together the 4 cloves of garlic and the 1/2 tsp salt until they form a paste.
  • Whisk in lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Mash anchovy fillets in small bowl until they form a paste.
  • Add anchovy paste to garlic mixture and whisk well.
  • Add 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly.
  • Add coddled eggs and whisk until blended.
  • Add romaine pieces and croutons, and toss until coated with dressing.
  • Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese and toss lightly.
  • Serve immediately.

“Thanksgiving” in Amsterdam!

“Thanksgiving” in Amsterdam!
First off, everytime you read the word “Thanksgiving” in this post, you must make the air quotes with your fingers. Promise? Ok off we go!Well here I am in freezing Amsterdam, reading all about my friends and family in sunny California making all sorts of grand plans for an honest to goodness Thanksgiving. I didn’t think I was going to miss it as much as I did, but as the day crept closer, I couldn’t bring myself to just skip it completely. Hence “Thanksgiving” was born!It’s got air quotes around it for a variety of reasons – first and foremost, it was on the wrong day! The office here didn’t get any days off last week, so we had dinner plans with a hotel on the actual night. My fellow San Diegan co-worker and only dining companion already had plans for Wednesday, and we were both booked for Friday. That left Tuesday. Seeing as how I had the idea on Monday, I didn’t have much time to plan! The second reason for the quotes was a total lack of turkey. Even if I’d managed to find one, it would’ve been ridiculously expensive, a ludicrous quantity of food for two people, and my apartment doesn’t have an oven. I suppose I could’ve cut it up into tiny pieces and microwaved them all individually – sounds delish, huh?So I had the idea on Monday, and we were eating Tuesday. Since we don’t get off work until 6pm (sorry, 18:00 – military time is the name of the game here), I knew I’d need to get a fair amount of prep done the night before if we wanted to eat before 0:00. As if I needed more evidence to prove what a food nerd I am, making the list was some of the most fun I’ve had all month. It’s been a while since I’ve needed to go through that process, which is what I always do whenever faced with any kind of culinary challenge. I grab a nice fresh sheet of lined notebook paper (college ruled, preferably), my favorite fine point pen, and get to work writing a menu. Inevitably a few dishes get the boot, as I either replace them with something better, discover overlapping similarities, too many starches, not enough veggies, etc. Once the final list is made, I note what ingredients will be required for every dish. I cross off all the ones I already have in the pantry back home, and count up any multiple appearances of ingredients to make sure I don’t short myself on anything. Finally, depending on how much time I have to plan, I write down each day and what I plan to accomplish in it. An NBC segment, for example, typically requires about a week of prep. (it’s a LOT of work for three minutes of air time, let me tell ya). I can make a pie crust on a Monday, pop it in the freezer, make the filling on Saturday, pop it in the fridge, then bake everything up on Sunday night for a Monday morning segment. It’s just a matter of breaking the whole equation into pieces, and making sure you’ve got them all accounted for by the due date. See? Fun! I swear. By the end of the process, I’ve got a mangled sheet of once pristine paper, folded all over the place, covered in lines and scribbles and bits of food, that I’ve usually lost once or twice somewhere along the way.

For “Thanksgiving” I only had one day to conceive, plan, shop, and prep.

The menu:
Braised chicken with carrots and onions (wound up being leeks)
Cheesy, bacon-y broccoli and cauliflower, sauce made with local Gouda
Chunky cranberry orange sauce
Goat cheese herbed mashed potatoes
Buttered green beans
Bakery rolls
Microwave pears and crackly caramel sauce

Seeing as how I only have three pots, three working burners, and three tupperware containers, my options were pretty limited. Also bear in mind that I have zero pantry staples to draw on, so things like salt, pepper, sugar for the cranberries, flour for the bechamel, etc all had to be purchased. At a Dutch grocery store. Cheese grater? Microplane? Nice sharp 5″ santuko style chef’s knife? Nope, nope and nope. I wound up using my flimsy, oddly long paring knife to cut the cheese into matchsticks to melt into the sauce, and a dull serrated bread knife for pretty much everything else.

The plan:
Monday
shop
braise chicken
make cranberry sauce
steam veggies
boil potatoes
confirm you can actually make caramel sauce in the microwave

Tuesday
re-heat chicken
make cheese sauce
mash potatoes
make dessert
Eat! (my mom always puts this at the end of the list, it’s very important)

After wandering around the grocery store for the better part of an hour, hunting down “kip” aka chicken, staring at the bags of flour trying to sort out which one was plain old all purpose, giving up on finding any goat cheese and settling for some fakey herbed stuff, and keeping in mind all the while that whatever I bought I’d have to haul four blocks back the apartment, and up four flights of stairs.

The haul:

Everything went perfectly to plan on Monday night:

Then came the small detail of storage containers, which I’d completely forgotten to address at the grocery store. Good thing I still had a to-go container from the day before, and a stash of impulsively purchased adorable little Russian doll tupperware! They match my favorite measuring cups, acquired at the MoMa in New York this spring. I HAD to buy them!

As it turns out, you CAN make caramel sauce in the microwave. Fair warning though, while you’ll eventually acheive the rich warm brown you see here, you’ll almost definitely produce several batches of black, tar-like smoky disaster that solidify into something like volcanic glass. I really should’ve taken pictures of those, as they were pretty funny, but I was busy frantically opening doors and windows to the freezing cold, trying to prevent the entire building’s fire alarm going off.

On Tuesday night, there was only about an hour’s worth of work to do. What does one do, when one is lacking a potato masher or anything implement resembling such tool? Insert pan A into pan B:
SMASH!!!
Good ’nuff.
I made the roux for the bechamel and eventual cheese sauce with most rendered bacon fat, with just a touch of butter added, which is why it’s brown instead of a pale beige. It wasn’t the most attractive sauce the world ever saw, but holy smokes was it good!! My new favorite cheese is a locally made 20 month aged Gouda, which I’m going to miss sorely when I head back home. I bought a hunk of it the first week, and have been nibbling on it ever since. This was it’s first culinary application, and it was a smashing success – after all, isn’t Thanksgiving all about taking something like lovely, fresh vegetables, and making them as unhealthy as possible by drowning them in cheese and bacon? Sure is.

We sat down to eat about 19:30, drinking orange juice out of wine glasses because we forgot to buy anything else. Whoops.

Ta-da, “Thanksgiving!”

In the end, we were too stuffed for dessert. Despite being cooked in the microwave, I think it had potential. I’ll give it a try some other time before I leave, and be sure to post pics if I turn the sugar into a bubbling teacup of blackened lava again!

I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday, I’ll likely roast a turkey just for the fun of it (and for the stock making opportunities!) in January, providing the stores are still carrying them. Seeing as how I won’t arrive at my parent’s house until Christmas Eve, we’ll likely be faced with another one-day-to-plan holiday meal situation again next month, unless they’ve got everything figured out before I get there! My dad’s an eggnog fan, so hopefully we’ll have time to try our hands at a homemade version!

Farmer’s Market Booty – And How to Use It!

Farmer’s Market Booty – And How to Use It!
I love the Little Italy Mercato. Of all the many farmer’s markets around San Diego each week, it’s my favorite! It’s huge, for starters, running up both sides of about four blocks worth of street in the heart of Little Italy. Parking is a pain in the patoot, but it is just about anywhere you go these days. The vendors are friendly and hugely varied, the sense of community among the market goers is tangible, it’s run by an awesome woman who actually manages several local markets in various SD neighborhoods, and it’s just plain fun! A couple weeks ago, I wandered up and down among the tents and booths and stalls, and randomly gathered up whatever looked good. I had vague preparations in mind for some but not all of the things I bought, leaving plenty of leeway for inspiration by stuff that just plain looked good. This was my total haul:

Mussels, sungold cherry tomatoes, local honey, black olive bread, goat cheese, passion fruit, and super cheap end of season heirloom tomatoes.

I feel like what stumps a lot of people about shopping at farmer’s markets is that they wind up with piles of vegetables, and don’t really know what to do with them besides eat them plain. Where’s the fun in that?? All of the things you see above, while delicious in their own rights, were transformed into a week’s worth of meals, nibbles, desserts, canning projects, beverages, etc. Let’s break it down.

Passion fruit & goat cheese & sungold tomatoes = goat cheese panna cotta with passion fruit sauce & tomato garnish.

Heirloom tomatoes = canned marinara sauce

Black olive bread + above canned marinara sauce + poached egg = the best breakfast, lunch or dinner ever.

Sungold tomatoes & mussels = mussels steamed in white wine broth with bacon & tomatoes.

Local honey + tons of donated meyer lemons = canned honey mint lemonade concentrate.

My friend Mike came over for dinner a couple of nights after the market, and we had a grand old time steaming mussels, sipping citrusy white wine, sopping leftover black olive bread in the insanely delicious mussel broth, hollowing out passion fruit, and spooning the goat cheese panna cotta I’d made the night before out of little mason jars. I can’t remember another week in recent memory when I ate quite so well, all from things I turned out of my teeny tiny kitchen.

What’s that, you want recipes?? Well, ask and ye shall receive. Most of these things are still available as it was just a couple of weeks ago, but your particular market booty will surely change with the seasons. Go in with loose idea of what you’d like to make, but don’t be afraid to buy things on the fly because you simply can’t resist them. Improvise, adapt, create, share, eat, drink and be merry. Cooking is FUN, especially when you can share you creations with someone you love. Don’t hold back, you’d be amazed at what you can do!

Mussels Steamed in White Wine
adapted from Inspired Taste

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup sliced shallots
2 garlic cloves
1 and 1/2 pounds mussels

1/4-1/2 bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped
handful cherry tomatoes (I used the sungolds)
8 ounces chicken stock (1 cup)
1/2 cup white wine
splash of cream
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
lemon wedges
salt and pepper to taste
Crusty French bread

Method

Buy mussels from a trusted seafood purveyor. I buy mine from Carlsbad Aquafarms, 2 lbs for $8!

Once you get home from the store, make sure the mussels are unwrapped and stored in a cool area (remember mussels are alive before you cook them, if you do not store them correctly, they could die before you get the chance to make the recipe)

Look through the mussels, if you find any cracked, chipped or open mussels, discard them.

About 20 minutes before cooking, place the mussels in a bowl full of fresh water, as the mussels breathe they will expel any sand or grit that is stored inside the shells.

While the mussels are soaking, cook your bacon until it’s nice and crisp, let sit until it’s cool enough to handle, and roughly chop or crumble.
Most mussels will have what is known as “the beard,” this is just fibers that emerge from the shell of the mussel. To remove the beard, hold the mussel in one hand with a dry towel and pull the beard with your other hand towards the hinge end of the mussel, sometimes it can be a bit tricky to remove, but will come out.
Take the mussels out of the first bowl of water and place them into another bowl full of clean cold water. Use a firm brush to remove additional sand and any barnacles then rinse them under cold water, dry then set aside ready to steam.
After steaming, if any mussels have not opened, discard them.

Preheat a large pot to medium and add the olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the sliced shallots, a little salt, and pepper then saute for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the wine, chicken stock, bacon, tomatoes and mussels, then cover the pot with a lid. Steam the mussels for about 10 minutes or until all the mussels open, if there is one that does not open, discard it. Add the cream and parsley. Season to taste and serve with a lemon wedge and some crusty French bread.

Pizza or Pasta Sauce

Makes enough sauce to fill 4-5 pint jars

Ingredients
13 cups fresh plum tomato puree (about 9 lbs of fresh tomatoes)
1/2 cup bottled lemon juice
4 tsp Italian seasoning blend (ours includes basil, oregano, and thyme)
3 tsp aleppo pepper (can substitute 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes) (this level is pretty spicy – cut it down to 1/2 tsp if you want a traditional mild marinara!)
3 tsp garlic powder
4 tsp cracked anise (I left this out with perfectly fine results)
1 tsp salt

Method
If canning the sauce, prepare water bath canner, jars and lids.

Place 6 cups of the tomato puree in a large non-reactive sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Add remaining tomato puree one cup at a time, being certain to keep the puree at a constant boil (this step tempers the tomatoes, preventing the unsightly separation of the juice from the pulp later on). Stir in lemon juice and seasonings until thoroughly combined.

Allow the mixture to boil vehemently for 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened to your liking.

Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a non-metallic spatula, and maintain headspace by adding additional sauce if needed. Wipe rim of canning jar to remove debris, center hot lid on jar, and screw on band until finger-tip tight. Process pint jars in a water bath canner for 35 minutes (quarts for 40 minutes). When jars have finished processing, remove canner lid and wait five minutes before removing jars.

To turn this into the meal I ate quite happily for a few days in a row, simply toast a couple slices of good quality bread (such as my Bread & Cie Black Olive Loaf), plop a couple of poached eggs on top, and douse with your fresh tomato sauce. Die happy.
Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit Sauce & Sungold Tomatoes
adapted from Minnesota Monthly
Ingredients

2 c. whole milk, divided
2 tsp. powdered gelatin
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. fresh goat cheese, room temperature, cubed
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract or seeds from one vanilla bean
about 6 fresh passion fruits
simple syrup made from 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water
sungold tomatoes for garnish (these were SO insanely sweet they lent themselves quite easily to dessert!)
edible flowers – optional

Method – Panna Cotta (can be prepared the night before)
Pour 1/2 c. of whole milk in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin evenly over the top to soften it. Set the bowl aside.

Combine the heavy cream, remaining 1 1/2 c. milk and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer (not a boil) and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Turn off heat and whisk in goat cheese, until the pieces of cheese are totally incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla and the milk/gelatin mixture and whisk again to dissolve the gelatin. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher with a pour spout.

Pour the mixture into 6-8 ramekins or fancy glasses (or 1/2 pint mason jars) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, pour passion fruit sauce over the top, add a few cherry tomatoes, and edible flowers.

Method – Passion Fruit Sauce
Simmer 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup water in small sauce pan, until sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Cut each passion fruit in half, and scoop the pulp into a bowl.

When simple syrup has cooled slightly, add to passion fruit puree until sweetened to your personal tastes.



Honey Mint Lemonade Concentrate
adpated from Canning with Kids

Ingredients

7 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice (mine came from a bajillion meyer lemons that my friend Ben gifted me from his mom’s tree)
7 cups sugar (I swapped out honey, at a ratio of 3/4 cup honey for every 1 cup sugar)
7 cups water
large handful fresh mint sprigs

Method
Sterilize your jars and lids.
Add all ingredients to a non-reactive pot. Stirring often, bring the mixture to a full rolling boil that can’t be stirred down.
Remove from heat, stir. Skim off foam if desired. I destire not (I don’t really find it necessary).

Pour through a strainer or remove mint leaves by hand.
Pour the lemonade concentrate into your hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
Wipe the rims and seal the jar.
Process in a boiling water bath for fifteen minutes (start counting once the water has reached a boil).

When you’re ready to enjoy your lemonade, add one pint of lemonade concentrate to your pitcher and two pints of cold water. (or you know, your homemade sweet tea vodka from earlier in the summer) Mix and enjoy!


September NBC Segment – Pie!

September NBC Segment – Pie!
There are few things I love more than a good pie. Not just a slice on a plate mind you, but pie in all it’s glorious forms. Pot pie, pocket pie, baked pie, fried pie, sweet pie, savory pie, fruit pie, cream pie – I think you get my meaning. I am in LOVE with pie.

The pies in this month’s segment run the gamut from a savory beef pot pie, to fried cherry pies, to a classic apple pie with a twist. Filling in the gaps are flaky homemade pop tarts unlike anything you ever got out of a box, and the most delicious mini key lime pies in mason jars – the layer of chocolate ganache on the top makes this hands down one of my favorite desserts ever! I hope you try them all, but if you make only one pie from this collection, the key lime is it. Enjoy!

PS: Sorry about the wonky pictures, as per usual Blogger is broken and refuses to orient them correctly. They’re all right side up on my facebook page, www.facebook.com/neighorhoodfoodie!

Neighborhood Foodie Steak, Mushroom & Brie Pot Pies
Adapted from The Yummy Life

Ingredients

1-2 boxes (17.3 oz.) frozen puff pastry
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 lb. beef–stew meat, chuck roast, or sirloin, cut into 3/4″ cubes
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups very roughly chopped mushrooms
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary (1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary)
1 cup dry red wine
2 1/2 cups low sodium beef broth
2 cups fresh or frozen pearl onions, thawed if frozen
8 oz brie cheese, plain or herbed
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water

Method

CUT PASTRY TOPS: Use 12-16 oz. oven proof bowls. Turn one upside down on thawed pastry sheet and cut around it with a small knife. Repeat for number of crusts you need. Cut small cookie cutter shapes out of leftover dough, if desired. Cover cut pastry rounds with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

MAKE THE STEW: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in Dutch oven over med-high heat. Pat meat dry, sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper, add half to pan. Cook, stir occasionally, until browned and liquid gone. Remove to plate and repeat with remaining meat. Remove to plate. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan, add mushrooms; cook until liquid is gone. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, thyme, and rosemary; cook for approx 30 seconds. Stir in dry wine, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, and browned meat. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook until potatoes are cooked and beef is tender, approx. 30-40 min. Add onions. Slice rind from brie, and cut into cubes. Stir into stew until completely melted; approx. 3 minutes. Continue to simmer over low heat until it reaches desired thickness, stirring often to prevent cheese from scorching. Remove from heat; stir in parsley. Season with salt to taste.

ASSEMBLE THE POT PIES: Ladle stew into ovenproof bowls, place puff pastry round on top. Gently stretch and press pastry edges over lip of bowl. Make egg wash by whisking egg with 1 tablespoon water, brush on pastry tops. Add pastry cookie cutter shapes on top of pastry rounds (if using) and brush those with egg wash. Place bowls on foil lined baking sheet for easy clean up and easy of handling.

BAKING INSTRUCTIONS: Bake at 400 until crusts are golden and filling is bubbly.
–To bake right away, bake for 25-35 minutes.
–To bake if refrigerated, bake 40-50 minutes.
–To bake if frozen, bake 1 to 1-1/4 hours.

If crust browns before filling is bubbly, place a loose piece of foil across the top to prevent over browning. Let pies rest 15-20 minutes before serving to allow filling to cool and thicken.

MAKE AHEAD TIPS: Cook the stew, let it cool to room temperature, pour into baking bowls, cover and refrigerate or freeze. Cut pastry sheets into rounds and cookie-cutter shapes, stack between layers of plastic wrap; cover and refrigerate. OR, go ahead and top each cooled bowl of stew with the top crust ahead of time, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. (Don’t brush with egg wash until right before baking.)

MAKE ONE GIANT PIE INSTEAD OF INDIVIDUAL PIES: Pour the entire beef stew mixture into a 9×13 baking dish. You only need one box of puff pastry–slightly overlap the edges of two side-by-side pastry sheets and press the seam with your fingers to seal them together. Place the pastry sheet on top of the baking dish, trim the edges, brush with egg wash, add decorate cookie-cutter pastry shapes and brush them with egg wash, and bake as described above.

Home Made Pop Tarts
From Smitten Kitchen

Pastry

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk
1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)

Jam Filling
3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam (I used a chocolate cherry preserve I made over the summer)
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

To make jam filling: Mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.

Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.

Divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches. You can roll this out immediately (see Warm Kitchen note below) or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. [You can use a 9" x 13" pan, laid on top, as guidance.] Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.

Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.

Bake the tarts: Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack.

Deep Fried Cherry Pocket Pies
Adapted from Ezra Poundcake

Makes 6 individual pies

Cherry Filling: (note – I used sweet cherry pie filling that I canned over the summer)
1/2 cup fresh cherries
1/8 cup cherry preserves

Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup ice water
Oil, for deep-frying

Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cherry Filling: In a small bow, combine the cherries with the preserves.

To Make the Dough: In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the ice water while the processor is running, until the dough forms a ball.

Divide the dough in half. Sprinkle a thin layer of flour on a flat board or surface. Roll out each portion of dough to 1/16th thickness, a little thicker than a tortilla. Cut the dough into 5-inch circles; each ball should make three rounds.

Put 1 tablespoon of 1 filling in the center of each dough round. Fold the dough rounds in half; wet your fingers and press to seal the edges with water. Crimp the edges with the tines of a fork.

To Fry the Pies: Pour about 3 inches of oil into a deep-frying pan or Dutch oven, and set it over medium-high heat. The oil is hot enough when a scrap of dough dropped in the pan sizzles and bubbles, about 350 degrees F. (The temperature of the oil will fluctuate during the frying process, so you might want to use a thermometer.) Fry the pies, a few at a time, until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain the pies on plates lined with paper towels.

For the Glaze: Whisk the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Using a pastry brush, glaze the warm pies. Serve immediately.

Baking Option: If you’d rather bake the pies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the top of each pie with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water), and bake them on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Brown Butter and Cheddar Apple Pie
From Food52

filling:

3 pounds apples, preferably a combo of Cortland and Honey Crisp, peeled and roughly chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar .
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar .
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

pie crust:

2 1/2 cups AP flour .
3 tablespoons semolina flour (I skipped this, with no negative results)
1 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup grated sharp yellow cheddar
small glass ice water
1 egg, beaten for egg wash

Toss apples and sugars together in large bowl. Set aside for an hour to allow apples to break down.

Sift flours and salt together by hand or in bowl of food processor.

Add butter, along with cheese, to flour mixture. Pulse food processor (or cut into flour quickly by hand) just until fat and flours turn into a pebbly mixture.

Remove blade from processor and sprinkle about 6 tablespoons of ice water on pebbly mixture. Using your hands, gently combine until the dough starts to hold together. Add more water as needed.

Cut dough in half and form into disks, one a bit bigger than the other. Wrap with wax paper and chill for about 30 minutes.

Roll out larger disk of dough on floured surface. Gently fit into pie dish, crimping the edges. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 400.

Poke dough in pie dish with fork to ventilate. Line with parchment or foil and add pie weights (or beans and/or rice). Bake for 10 minutes. Remove parchment and pie weights and bake for another 5-10 minutes until pie shell starts to look dry-ish on the bottom. Cool.

Meanwhile, onto the filling: Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over med-high heat. Swirl until the foam subsides and the butter turns a nut brown color. Watch closely – this can burn quickly. Toss with apples.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the 2 tablespoons of water and toss into apple mixture.

Roll out second disk of dough on floured surface to fit the top of your pie.

Fill par-baked pie shell with apple mixture. Gently fit top over the filling, crimping the edges. With a sharp knife, cut slits or poke with fork to vent.

Beat egg with one tablespoon of water. Brush egg wash on top of pie.

Bake at 350 for about 50-60 minutes, until filling is bubbly.

N. F. Mini Key Lime Pies with Graham Cracker Crust & Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients

Crust:
1 package of 9 graham crackers, smashed into fine crumbs
6 TB melted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 ts cinnamon

Filling:
4 egg yolks
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup key lime juice, preferably fresh squeezed

Ganache:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method

Crust:

Preheat over to 350.

Either pulse graham crackers in a food processor or smash with a rolling pin in a sealed zip lock back until fine crumbs are formed.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter, stirring until completely incorporated.

Press a couple tablespoons of crust mixture into the bottoms and slightly up the sides of 5 1/2 pint canning jars. Reserve a small amount of crumbs for garnishing finished pies.

Place jars on a baking sheet and bake crusts for about 15 minutes, until they smell faintly nutty.

While crusts are baking, separate four egg yolks into a medium bowl, and using a handheld electric mixer or stand mixer, combine with 2 cans sweetened condensed milk.

Add lime juice and carefully mix until thoroughly combined.

Remove jars from oven and pour filling into each jar, leaving about 3/4″ head space.

Return to oven and bake 20-25 minutes, until centers are just set.

While pies bake, heat 1 cup heavy cream in a small pot until simmering. Do not boil!

Turn off heat, add 1 cup of chocolate chips, and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir melted chocolate and cream together until smooth and shiny.

Remove pies from the oven, let cool slightly, and pour melted ganache over the top of each. Chill for at least four hours in the fridge, up to overnight. Right before serving, sprinkle with reserved graham cracker crust crumbs.

Guest Post – September San Diego Food Swap!

Guest Post – September San Diego Food Swap!
Hi everybody! I’m excited to bring you the first ever Neighborhood Foodie guest post, by the lovely Hillary Condon who founded the San Diego Food Swap! I’m excited to attend my first swap this month, on Saturday, September 17th at the OB Women’s Club. She’s written a recap of last month’s event, along with some photos and a recipe to share. I hope to see everyone there, follow the swap on Facebook and Twitter at @SDFoodSwap for updates, and be sure to check out Hillary’s own foodie musings at The H Blog!
“I feel like I won the foodie lottery.”

This was the spontaneous sentiment of Belinda Aguilar, who would be a championship-earning foodie in her own right if there was such a thing – and it quite nicely sums up the feelings at the San Diego Food Swap. Ms. Aguilar uttered these words as she was trying to find a comfortable way to carry a bag stuffed to the brim with ice cream, breads, jams, chutneys, roasted tomatoes, cookies, cakes and empenadas, all homemade.

The San Diego Food Swap is held once a month at the Ocean Beach Woman’s Club, and is continuing to grow with every event. Participants cook their best dishes and swap them, and in the four events we have had so far, I have yet to see someone who didn’t walk away with a smile on his or her face.

                                                      Even when we all swapped outside!

There are no rules. Bring your favorite jam, the results of your mom’s recipe for pulled pork, or a tart made with the fresh berries from your garden or the apples from your tree. Bring bags of your garden’s vegetable bounty, or beer brewed in your kitchen. Everything is wanted, everything is appreciated, and so far, everything is delicious.

Make sure it’s separated into easy-to trade sizes (a jar of jam, a loaf of bread) or 2-3 servings of say, pulled pork, or 2-3 empenadas, chile rellenos, or large stuffed pastries.

Everyone decides the terms of the trade, and although I get questions constantly about “what happens if I don’t like what they’re swapping? They want to trade with me!” it has never been a huge problem. There has been the occasional vegetarian who didn’t want to swap for a beef empanada or something, but in that case, you can swap for an IOU, maybe allow another swapper to step in and make an arrangement between the two of you so everyone walks away happy, or you can be sure to bring a vegetarian option next time so you don’t miss out.

I’m also constantly impressed at the swap with the new and interesting items people bring to swap. One swapper who has been there since the beginning, and makes a killer Bourbon BBQ sauce, is Sandy D’Onofrio, and at the last two swaps she attended, she shared with us these amazing, little packets of flavored finishing salts. The first time, she brought these delightful little boxes, each with a sampler of salts: a chili-lime salt (try it with scrambled eggs), hazelnut salt (sprinkle it on a pan of brownies before you bake them), and matcha (green tea).

The last swap, Sandy shared with us larger baggies of each flavor, and also a new flavor: pesto. Yummy!!

_______

Sandy’s Flavored Finishing Salts

The flavors for these salts can be as unlimited as your imagination. Here’s the recipe for three of Sandy’s best flavors.

Citrus Salt:

5 oranges
5 lemons
1 lb coarse sea salt

Zest the citrus and let it dry for an hour between paper towels to remove some of the moisture. Then place the zest and the salt into a food processor and let it run until it’s very fine (about 15 seconds).

For Chili-Lime Salt, use 10 limes, 1/4 cup pure ground chili (more if you prefer it to be extra spicy), 1 lb. coarse sea salt, ½ cup citrus salt (optional, it makes the end result look nicer), and follow same method as above.

For Pesto Salt: Instead of citrus, use clean fresh basil that has been slightly dried in a salad spinner or between paper towels. Add 1 lb coarse sea salt and blend in the food processor, and then add grated pecorino cheese by hand afterward.
__________

Of course, the cooking fun isn’t just for before the swap. Many swappers have reported back to me with the amazing, tasty things they make afterwards with the great items they scored at the swap. Elena Romero attended with homemade pizza dough and two kinds of homemade gelato, and then when she got home, she used some of her dough with my smoky plum BBQ sauce, Sandy D’Onofrio’s pulled pork, another swapper’s homegrown chiles and alongside some food swap beer.
                                                                Photo: Elena Romero


As Seen on TV (really soon) – Devilicious!

As Seen on TV (really soon) – Devilicious!

I got the opportunity to interview Dyann Manning this week, co-owner of the Devilicous food truck. The gang can be seen any day now (Aug 14th to be exact) on season two of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race. I stopped by for a few bites last Friday, which happened to be the same day there was a huge freak car accident involving their other truck, Kalbiq – a Mexican/Korean fusion concept. Everyone’s ok and the truck will hopefully be back on the road soon. In the mean time, Devilicious is still cranking out their amped up comfort food all over the county, drawing big crowds and rave reviews.

I think the first thing fellow food truckers would want to know, is how exactly did the Devilicious crew find themselves on the show? Turns out, Food Network came to THEM! They hadn’t been in business very long yet, had just recently acquired Kalbiq, and had no aspirations about tackling a project like the race. They had a week to put together an audition video, and the rest is history. The lesson to be learned here? Awesome breeds awesome. BE awesome, and awesome will seek you out! Ok, enough with the awesome, I promise – I’ve been giving that word way too hard of a work out lately, I promise I’ll try to curb it. It’s just such an awesome word!! Sorry.


I knew going in that the butter poached lobster grilled cheese is their signature item, and hands down best seller. It lived up to it’s reputation – big hunks of tender lobster, gooey melting cheese, and my favorite part, grilled onions and tomatoes to play counter to all that crazy richness.

I had a friend with me so we could try a few different things and share them, and she opted for the All Crab Crab Cake with a fried egg on top.

I rushed off to get back to work (service was surprisingly quick given the length of the line, but I’d gotten caught up in traffic from the above mentioned accident) and forgot to grab a bite of this one, but the feedback was good.

I ordered something else too, and it was uh-may-zing. I gushed all over the place about it on facebook, and again on the phone with Dyann. Holy sammich, Batman. It was so good I can’t just reveal it right off the bat – it deserves some anticipation. Some curiosity. Intrigue. And I really want you to read all the way to the end of this post, so that’s the deal we’re gonna have to strike if you want me to spill the beans.

The menu changes pretty frequently, and they’ve always got the current offerings and truck schedule posted on their website. It’s a little faint, but if you squint you can make out last week’s offerings:

We chatted a little about the challenges that food truck owners face, vs a traditional brick and mortar restaurant. Obviously, an intangible location is going to be a huge factor. The “they don’t pay rent” argument made by establishments who don’t want the trucks parked near their businesses is a total load, there’s a ton of things the trucks have to deal with that traditional restaurants don’t. They have to pay to rent commercial kitchen space. They pay for gas and insurance and permits and storage and places to park their trucks at night. They battle ever changing regulations about where they can and can’t park. In other words, running a food truck isn’t exactly a picnic in the park. All that said, there are definite upsides to being on wheels. You can go to where the customers are. You can change your mind about returning to a location of the people just weren’t there. You can take full advantage of the free marketing offered by social media. The truck trend is most certainly a fad who’s popularity will eventually wane, but the quality offerings will surely stick around – just like any restaurant undertaking.

You still wondering about that sandwich I went bonkers for? You should be. Sweet. Savory. Salty. Crunchy. Gooey. Don’t you dare scroll down to the bottom, that’s like reading the last page of a mystery novel first! No cheating!

I asked Dyann what she thinks the key to success in this business was, and her answer was simple, yet all encompassing. Have a great concept. Don’t think it’s going to be easy. Be willing to work hard, and don’t let anyone tell you no. That about covers it, no? She says one of the biggest keys to Devilicious’ success is their ability to be diverse and ever changing. They’re not locked into a concrete concept like all pitas, all burgers, all desserts, etc. They can change the menus according to season or whim, as long as the food adheres to a simple standard – it’s devilishly good. Her current favorite menu item just popped up last week in fact, the Strawberry Cheesecake Grilled Cheese – Brie, Cream Cheese, fresh strawberries sandwiched within a Grilled Cheese topped with Powdered Sugar. Seriously?? That’s definitely on the “must try” next time I hit up the truck.
Speaking of which, are you wondering where you can find the Devilicious crew some time in the near future? In addition to their regular weekly stops, they’re slated to participate in several upcoming events this summer.

Fri Aug 12: La Jolla Playhouse Foodie Friday
                  2910 La Jolla Village Dr 6-8pm
Sat Aug 13: BrewFest Encinitas
                  3333 Manchester Ave, Cardiff By The Sea 4-7pm
Sun Aug 14: 5&A Dime Car Show.
                   701 8th Ave Downtown San Diego 10-3pm
Sun Aug 20: Del Mar Races
                   2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar – Time TBD
Fri Aug 26 – Sun Aug 28: Lantern Festival
                                       City Heights/El Cajon Blvd – Times TBD

Ok. I think you’re finally ready to revel in my new favorite sandwich. You have GOT to try one of these, and very very soon at that. Do me a favor and say this next bit out loud – Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly with Cream Cheese, Bacon, and a Fried Egg. Say it again, let it roll around your mouth and mind a little. Close your eyes and imagine how all those flavors might come together. Try not to drool all over your keyboard. It was quite frankly one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth.

Words and pictures simply don’t do it justice, no matter how much I gush. You really have no option but to go get one for yourself, then send me a thank you note.

Dyann wasn’t really allowed to discuss the particulars of the show so I have no idea how far along the journey they got, but I’m sure they gave it their all and did great. The show will air on Sunday nights at 10pm, on the Food Network. Be sure to tune in and cheer on your fellow San Diegans! In fact, in support of the show Food Network is sponsoring a fun event next Friday, Aug 19th – they’re giving out a free lunch at various trucks that were on the show, Devilicious included! The first 100 people to line up will get some delicious grub, gratis. In order to find out the secret ninja location, you need to like Food Network on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter at @foodnetwork. While you’re at it, be sure to like Devilicious and Neighborhood Foodie, and follow us both on twitter at @deviliciousfood and @jensrad! Happy Friday everybody!

Bartered Beet Pickled Eggs Part Deux – Deviled

Bartered Beet Pickled Eggs Part Deux – Deviled

As promised, I took my crazy neon pickled eggs one step further tonight, and deviled them! It was perfect timing, my office is chock full of pot luck fans, and tomorrow we’ve got an appetizer themed one scheduled. My co-workers have no idea what’s comin their way.

As luck would have it, serendipity stepped in once again to deliver the perfect recipe right to my finger tips. I fired up the lap top to start looking, and Gilt Taste had posted exactly what I needed right to my facebook feed! Granted, the eggs in their picture are more delicately pickled than mine, and the filling has a distinctly more creamy and luxurious look about it, but hey – I’m a pickled egg novice remember? While we’re on the subject, have you SEEN the Gilt Taste website yet? It’s Ruth Reichl’s new undertaking, and it’s kind of amazing. Straight up food porn. Very expensive food porn. I was clicking around the site while my parents were visiting a couple weeks ago, and every 30 seconds or so was yelling something like “Mom!! They’re selling those pop tarts I made last week for SIXTY DOLLARS!!!”

Incidentally, if you’ve been living under a twitter rock, you might not know that Ms. Reichl is one half of the inspiration for one of the funniest tweeters of all time - Ruth Bourdain. If you’re not following…uh, her, I guess, you should start. Immediately. Trust me on this one.

Armed with my deviling recipe, I started fishing the eggs out of the jar.

Like pretty purple soldiers, all in a row.

 Oh, the carnage!

Like I said, Gilt Taste’s version looks far more delicate and worthy of Gilt Taste than mine. It’s probably because I didn’t add enough mayonnaise to the mix, but it was starting to reach truly alarming levels when I finally just conceded that my filling might have to stay slightly stiff.

I think more than anything else, I’m highly amused by the idea of serving my co-workers bright purple eggs tomorrow. If I know them, about half will be brave enough to try one, and the other half will lean over the eater’s shoulders and ask what they taste like. I ate a couple tonight, and I think they’re great! Definitely pickle-y, salty, and briny. Not your average deviled egg on any level!

Pennsylvania Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs

This recipe starts all the way back at the beginning of the pickling process, so if you’re already there like I was, start down at the filling!

Makes 24 deviled eggs

3 cups water
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 small beet, peeled and sliced
1 small shallot, sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon pickling spice
12 hard-boiled large eggs, peeled
½ cup mayonnaise, or more to taste
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Bring the water, vinegar, beet, shallot, sugar, pickling spice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a small saucepan, then lower the liquid to a simmer, covered, until the beet is tender, about 20 minutes. Cool the liquid completely, uncovered. Put the beet mixture in a container with the eggs and marinate, chilled, gently stirring once or twice, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. (The longer the time, the stronger the color and flavor will be, but also firmer the texture of the egg. So it’s up to you.)

2. Remove the eggs from the beet mixture and pat them dry. Cut each egg in half lengthwise and remove the yolks. Mash the yolks with the mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, and half the parsley. Season the filling with salt and pepper, then divide it among the egg whites. Top with the rest of the parsley.

Bartered Beet Pickled Eggs

Bartered Beet Pickled Eggs

A while back, a co-worker of my roommate’s sent a request my way. He wanted pickled eggs. Not to be mistaken for a pickled egg mooch, he offered something up in trade – some of his home brewed beer. Now, anyone who knows me well knows I’m not much a beer drinker. I WISH I was a beer drinker. In fact, I made a concerted effort to become a beer drinker a few years back. I committed to trying a different beer every time we went out for a whole summer, thinking maybe I could acquire a taste for the stuff, just like coffee. I mean, the those first few mostly-chocolate mochas I choked down in high school at Java Joe’s watching my friends bands play tasted like dirt. But I persisted, and coffee now ranks high among my favorite flavors on earth. Not the case with beer. I tried pilsners, pale ales, dark beer, imported beer, domestic beer, light beer, red beer, IPAs, nut browns, nothing stuck. I simply don’t like beer. The only way I ever willingly drink it is when Tony at the Ould Sod argues with me over whether it’s called a Black Beauty or a Snake Bite, then grudgingly pours me a pint of half Guiness, half pear cider. Delish.

But I digress. If Austin wants to give me home brewed beer, I’m gonna let him. Who knows, maybe I’ll wind up bartering it for something else, or take it to the next San Diego Food Swap! In any case, I was happy to grant his request, barter or not.

Seeing as how I’ve never eaten a pickled egg, much less attemped to make one, I had to find a recipe that sounded good first. Low and behold, Punk Domestics posted just that on their facebook page moments after I started the search. Who am I to argue with that kind of serendipity? The recipe came courtesy of  Neo-Homesteading, and was a bonus two-in-one. First, you pickle the beets. Having only eaten those canned salad bar style canned beets before, I was a little dubious about the lack of cooking. Aren’t pickled beets supposed to be soft, bordering on mushy, and candy sweet? NO!! Turns out, I’ve been duped by the pickled beet all my life. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like the canned ones. Every salad bar salad I’ve ever eaten winds up with tinged pink, from when I inevitably stir everything all together. The beets I pickled myself were glorious. Crunchy, sweet, briny, dangerously snackable. (blogger doesn’t seem to think that’s a word – pfft) It required huge quantities of self control not to eat them all before I even got around to step two in the process, using them to pickle the eggs. This first batch was spoken for, but they’re definitely going into my regular pickle rotation. Word to the wise if you decide to make your own – they’re not kidding about using gloves. My finger tips were stained light purplish pink for a solid two days after this little experiment.

The beets were done pickling in just two days, then it was time to move on to the eggs.

I made the additional brine, and used my handy dandy mandoline to make quick work of the onions. I used it for the beets too, btw, to get those wonderfully thin crunchy slices.

Adding the beets to the boiling brine softens them into something more akin to the canned version, but the flavor is still far superior, trust me. I didn’t have the exact spices the recipe called for, so I skipped the whole allspice berries and added some whole black peppercorns.

I closed up the jar, stashed it in the fridge, and waited a few days to see what would happen!
I was probably supposed to wait one more day, but my curiosity and impatience got the best of me after work today. Turns out, they’re definitely good and well pickled! Check out that color, it goes straight through to the yolk!
For the record, these pictures in absolutely no way do justice to the gorgeous color of these pickles. The beets themselves, the brine that seems like it literally glows with some kind of crazy hot pink neon, and finally, the eggs. The whole project just plain put me in a good mood, because it constantly made me think of the most perfect incarnation of my favorite color in the whole wide world – Crayola Red-Violet. I tried to capture the glow through the empty jar, and trust me, it just doesn’t hold a candle. 
I guess you’ll just have to make them at home, and see for yourself! Stay tuned for part three of this recipe, I’m giving Austin his share and using the rest to make beet pickled deviled eggs! 

Homemade Pickled Beets and Pickled Beet Eggs

Pickled Beets – make 1, 1 quart jar

2 large beets, sliced very thin (I used a mandoline)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon salt


In a small sauce pot, (or large pot according to how big of a batch you are making) combine sugar, vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil and whisk until dissolved. If making spiced pickled beets, add the spices. Slice beets thinly. Place into sterile jars (if processing to be shelf stable) Cover with hot liquid. Process jars according to your altitude or place in the refrigerator. They are perfectly pickled within 48 hours and should last for up to 3 months in the refrigerator. (For Processing: Its 10 minutes for pints, 20 minutes for quarts)

(Spiced pickled beets- add 1/2 sliced onion to each jar as well as 4 allspice and 8 whole cloves)

Beet Pickled Eggs**

1/2 quart (or 1 pint) pickled beets including liquid, about 1 cup of liquid
8 cloves, whole
4 allspice, whole
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
sliced onion
6 or 7 hard boiled eggs, peeled.

** I made more pickled beets than the recipe called for to start with, knowing I had a dozen and half eggs I wanted to pickle. I wound up making the adjustment by measuring my beet liquid, which came to 2 1/2 cups. I adjusted the rest of the ingredients up as necessary.

In a pan combine beets, onion, vinegar, sugar, spices and beet liquid. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Lay some beets and onions into the bottom of your jar. Place peeled hard boiled eggs on top of the beets. Pour liquid over top. If you have liquid or beets remaining that will not fit simply store them in an air tight container…

Place in the refrigerator 24-48 hours. The longer you allow them to rest the further the purple color will penetrate into the egg. They will last in the fridge approximately 1 week.